Roadtest: Washing Clean and Green

The Footprints Ecofestival is hitting Annandale this month and it’s got us thinking about how we can be greener in our homes, particularly when doing household chores. Which products should we be using? And do these ‘environmentally friendly’ products even work?

We tested a few to see whether green dishing washing and laundry products can kill stains and remove food as well as regular chemical cleaners. Here’s what we discovered.


Soap Nuts

Hailed as nature’s eco-friendly soap alternative, Soap Nuts (aka Sapindus Mukorossi) can be used as laundry detergent or made into a liquid suitable for use as a stain remover, dishwasher, shampoo or even general purpose cleaner – the possibilities are endless. To use as are, pop four nuts into a wash bag and then into your washing machine with your clothing; no other detergent necessary.

I have to admit that when I opened my bag of nuts to find slightly sticky pods (about the size of macadamias) that smelt like salt and vinegar chips, I was a little sceptical. But to my surprise the clothes came out clean, stain free and although there was no soapy fragrance, they smelt fresh. 250g bag of nuts (washbag included), $16 at the Cruelty Free Shop, Glebe.


Herbon Dishwashing Machine Powder

Also found at the Cruelty Free Shop was this dishwashing powder, which is Australian made and owned, as well as 100 per cent biodegradable with no petrochemicals. While this product does the job to a certain extent and is suitable for people with allergies, it did leave some residue on glasses and pots, and some dirty spots remained on dishes after the wash. It’s better used for light washes. 1kg, $15.80.


Earth Choice Dishwashing Liquid

Also in the dishwashing category, Earth Choice seems to clean just as well as leading brands and is Australian made and owned, plant based, biodegradable and comes in a recycled bottle. The fragrance isn’t as strong as some other products but it cut through an oily Tupperware container and left a neutral smell. It’s is also great value for money and generally available from local IGAs (I got mine in Haberfield) and supermarkets. 1L, $1.93.


Earth Choice Laundry Liquid

Earth Choice also makes a pretty decent laundry detergent that works for top loaders, front loaders and hand washing. It leaves a light pleasant fragrance and has all the same features and benefits the dishwashing liquid boasts. While you’ll likely get more washes out of a 1kg laundry powder, if you’re looking for a cruelty free product, this isn’t a bad choice. 1L, $2.29.


Clean Conscience Laundry Powder

This is the only brown laundry powder I’ve ever seen – probably because one of its key ingredients is organic Soap Nut powder, which works alongside bicarb-soda, washing soda and Eucalyptus oil to clean clothes. Thankfully the intensely strong smell of Eucalyptus in the powder mostly dissipates in the wash, however the powder itself does not, so there was a fine layer of grit left on the washing. You’re better off using the Soap Nuts in their natural form. 1kg, $17.20.

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